Skip to comments.Boeing-led Team Fires Surrogate Lasers from Airborne Laser Aircraft
Posted on 06/26/2006 2:03:46 PM PDT by Righty_McRight
ST. LOUIS, June 26, 2006 -- A Boeing-led [NYSE: BA] industry team and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) took a major step toward demonstrating the capability of the Airborne Laser (ABL) by successfully firing surrogate lasers from inside the aircraft.
During recent ground tests at Boeing facilities in Wichita, Kan., the team placed the lasers in the ABL aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400F, and fired them repeatedly into a measuring device called a range simulator. The tests verified that the ABL team properly aligned the optical beam train, a series of optical components, steering and deformable mirrors, and sensors that will guide lasers to an actual target. The equipment exercised in the tests is part of the beam control/fire control system designed and integrated by Lockheed Martin.
The lasers used in the tests were low-power surrogates for ABL's high-energy laser and two illuminator lasers. The program plans to install actual illuminators in the jet for ground and flight tests later this year. The track illuminator laser is designed to track all classes of hostile ballistic missiles. The beacon illuminator laser will measure atmospheric conditions, allowing the beam control/fire control system to compensate for atmospheric turbulence in the high-energy laser's path to a target. During this year's flight tests, the illuminators will be fired in flight at a missile-shaped image painted on a test aircraft.
The high-energy laser, which achieved lethal power and run-times in a ground laboratory in December 2005, is currently being refurbished and will be installed in the ABL aircraft in 2007 to prepare for the program's first missile shoot-down test, slated for 2008.
"The surrogate-laser tests provide further proof that the ABL design is sound," said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "They also bring ABL closer to important flight testing later this year and to the 2008 lethal shoot-down milestone. This is an exciting time for the program, and our team has worked hard to make it that way."
Boeing is the prime contractor for ABL, which will provide a speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. Boeing provides the modified aircraft and the battle management system and is the overall systems integrator. ABL partners include Northrop Grumman, which supplies the high-energy laser and the beacon illuminator laser, and Lockheed Martin, which provides the nose-mounted turret in addition to the beam control/fire control system.
Take That Lil' Kim !
Wonder if the Dims will ever remember that the warmonger Bush nixed the ABM treaty? Still waiting . . . . . .
There's lots of cool stuff
going on with lasers and
advanced targeting . . .
Navy, Air Force to Develop Twin-Mirror Laser-Retargeting Satellite Technology
The U.S. Navy and the Air Force are sponsoring a research laboratory focused on developing technology for a revolutionary new satellite, able to receive and re-target laser beams anywhere on earth.
The lab is located at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, Calif.
The schools superintendent, Rear Adm. David R. Ellison, said that this project is the epitome of the joint, interdisciplinary research efforts that will drive our nations future military capabilities, and which none of us could do alone.
In the newly christened NPS/Air Force Research Lab Optical Relay Spacecraft Laboratory, researchers successfully demonstrated the laser tracking ability of a prototype twin-mirror Bifocal Relay Spacecraft designed to receive up beams and refocus them via a steering mirror and second main mirror onto targets of choice on the ground.
If fielded, a constellation of 27 of the twin-mirror satellites will orbit at 715 kilometers sometime in the next decade.
This is breakthrough work towards our goal of instantaneous global power with global reach, said R. Earl Good, director of the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., which is co-sponsoring the project.
The Bifocal Relay Mirror Spacecraft project owes its very existence to NPS officer students. It started as a student spacecraft design project. In 2000, the NPS/AFRL team won the prestigious National Reconnaissance Office Directors Innovation Initiative Award, and with it $340,000, to further develop the technology.
During the next five years, the new laboratory and research effort will receive approximately $3.5 million in Air Force and Missile Defense Agency funding.
What youre seeing is the only integrated spacecraft control/optical technology demonstration anywhere, said Air Force Capt. Mary Hartman, program manager for AFRLs relay mirror technology program.
AFRL scientists have the lead on the projects optics, while the Navys corporate university has the responsibility for spacecraft control.
The Bifocal Relay Mirror Spacecraft project marries the best expertise of our two groupsNPSs in spacecraft attitude and vibration control and AFRLs in high technology optics, said Aeronautics and Astronautics Prof. Brij Agrawal, director of the NPS Spacecraft Research and Design Center.
Good said the most likely future system would be a mix of ground-based, airborne, and space-based lasers in addition to the beam-retargeting space-based mirrors.
This is not an either-or proposition, he said. Theyre complementary.
According to project managers, the bifocal mirror tracking and targeting system is likely to first be tested on a lighter-than-air balloon or airship as a stepping stone to the ultimate space platform.
Agrawal stressed that the technology being developed for the space-mirror project is widely applicable to a number of other areas, such as reconnaissance, space optics, space communications, remote imaging, enhancing night vision capabilities, camouflage detection and penetration, chemical warfare agent detection and identification, theater wind profiling, tunnel and underground structure detection, and cloud ceiling detection.
One day smaller versions of this weapon will be mounted on missiles.
One missile, multiple targets - and maybe a use the missile as a kinetic kill device as well when the laser runs out of power.
Ronald Reagan was no fool! Fortunately, we did not allow the demorats to axe this program, though they tried mightily.
I had the pleasure of working on the SDI program in the Pentagon during President Reagan's terms. He was a true visionary, and a great patriot.
And the most eloquent spokesman for conservatism.....ever.
Heard a great reply to Libs who worry about our image with the rest of the world:
"Okay. You worry about the French, while I worry about the safety of our children!"
Because these are retargeting satellites and not weapons themselves, I bet these won't violate U.N. treaties banning weaponization of space. Very smart move.
We put frickin' laser beams on the frickin' planes!
I worked on several kinetic SDI programs as well ... Ronald Reagan was a great man and a great President
Hmmmm, so Reagan was right again.